Molecular diagnostics on the toxigenic potential ofFusariumspp. plant pathogens

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Abstract

Aims:

We propose and test an efficient and rapid protocol for the detection of toxigenic Fusarium isolates producing three main types of Fusarium-associated mycotoxins (fumonisins, trichothecenes and zearelanone).

Methods and Results:

The novel approach utilizes partially multiplexed markers based on genes essential for mycotoxin biosynthesis (fumonisin—fum6, fum8; trichothecenes—tri5, tri6; zearalenone, zea2) in Fusarium spp. The protocol has been verified by screening a collection of 96 isolates representing diverse species of filamentous fungi. Each Fusarium isolate was taxonomically identified through both molecular and morphological techniques. The results demonstrate a reliable detection of toxigenic potential for trichothecenes (sensitivity 100%, specificity 95%), zearalenone (sensitivity 100%, specificity 100%) and fumonisins (sensitivity 94%, specificity 88%). Both presence and identity of toxin biosynthetic genes were further confirmed by direct sequencing of amplification products.

Conclusions:

The cross-species-specific PCR markers for key biosynthetic genes provide a sensitive detection of toxigenic fungal isolates, contaminating biological material derived from agricultural fields.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

The conducted study shows that a PCR-based assay of biosynthetic genes is a reliable, cost-effective, early warning system against Fusarium contamination. Its future use as a high-throughput detection strategy complementing chemical assays enables effective targeted application of crop protection products.

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